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Referência Bibliográfica

GARCIA, P.V., LINHARES, D., AMARAL, A.F.S., RODRIGUES, A.S. (2012) - Exposure of thermoelectric power-plant workers to volatile organic compounds from fuel oil: genotoxic and cytotoxic effects in buccal epithelial cells. Mutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, 747(2), p. 197-201. DOI: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2012.05.008​


​Thermoelectric power-plant workers are constantly exposed to high levels of potentially genotoxic gaseous substances, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the combustion of fuel oil or the processing of naphtha. The aim of the present study was to estimate the association between such occupational exposure and the frequency of micronucleated cells and cells with other nuclear anomalies.


Buccal epithelial cells were collected from a total of 44 power-plant workers (exposed group) and 47 administrative workers (non-exposed group), and examined for the frequency of micronucleated cells (MNC) and of cells with other nuclear anomalies (ONA: pyknosis, karyolysis, and karyorrhexis) by means of the micronucleus assay. The frequencies of MNC and ONA per 1000 cells in the exposed group (1.8 parts per thousand. and 82.4 parts per thousand, respectively) were significantly higher than in the non-exposed group (0.2 parts per thousand and 58.3 parts per thousand, respectively). The exposed group had a twelve-fold increase in risk for formation of MNC compared with non-exposed individuals (RR = 12.1; 95% CI, 5.0-29.2; P < 0.001). The confounding factors analyzed (age, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and mouthwash use) did not show any significant association with the frequency of MNC or ONA.


The findings of this study show that workers from power plants exposed to VOCs have a significantly elevated risk for DNA damage. Therefore, bio-monitoring of DNA damage is recommended for this group of workers.